Do you know the 4 Ts of Type 1 diabetes?

Too many children and young people are not diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes unitl they are in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening condition that requires urgent medical attention. It’s a frightening time for everyone involved.

We are raising awareness of the four most common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes (the 4 Ts), to make sure more children are diagnosed early.

Diabetes UK 4Ts campaign

What are the 4 Ts?

  • Toilet
    Going to the toilet a lot, bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies
  • Thirsty
    Being really thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst
  • Tired
    Feeling more tired than usual
  • Thinner
    Losing weight or looking thinner than usual

    By making sure children and young people get a quick diagnosis and early treatment, we can avoid them becoming seriously ill with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). 
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    What to do if a child shows signs of the 4 Ts

    If your child has any of these signs and symptoms, you should take them straight to the doctor and insist on a test for Type 1 diabetes there and then. All it takes is a quick and simple finger-prick blood test, which your GP can carry out straight away.

    If the result indicates Type 1 diabetes, the GP should arrange for your child to see the specialist paediatric diabetes team the same day so they get immediate treatment to bring their diabetes under control and to prevent DKA.

    How we can help

    If your child, or someone you know has been diagnosed with diabetes, we are here to help. We can provide support and connect you with others to help the whole family manage the condition.

    How you can help

    A really easy way to raise awareness is by putting up our poster or flyer in your local area. You could try displaying them at your local supermarket, community centre, doctor's surgery or school. Order posters from our online shop or by calling 0800 585 088 (Monday to Friday: 8am - 6pm). You can also write to your local paper using our template letter.  

    4 Ts making a difference

    Fifteen-year-old Fintan had been feeling unwell for months. After reading about our 4 Ts campaign in a newspaper, his family went to the GP and asked them to test specifically for Type 1 diabetes, and Fintan was diagnosed with the condition. His mum Sarah says, "Without Diabetes UK's 4 Ts campaign, Fintan could have fallen seriously ill, or even died. We're so thankful."

    Have you got a story to share about our 4 Ts campaign?

    Maybe you, your child or someone you know has been recently diagnosed or helped after seeing the campaign? We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch - email website@diabetes.org.uk to share your story.

    Healthcare professionals

    We've produced a simple care pathway poster to help healthcare professionals diagnose Type 1 diabetes. It's available to download (PDF, 147KB) or to order from our online shop. You can also order our 4 Ts posters and make sure they are up in your surgery, clinic or hospital.

    4 Ts making a difference

    A Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse in North Lincolnshire set out to increase awareness of the 4 Ts, and took our 4 Ts poster and flyers to schools, parents, libraries, clinics and GP surgeries across the region. In just 12 months, she said that the number of children with Type 1 diabetes admitted to a North Lincolnshire hospital with DKA more than halved.